The Devil's Disciples

A bizarre witches' brew of a pop opera, The Black Rider is a triumph for Tom Waits, William S. Burroughs and Robert Wilson

Recipe for theatrical disaster: take a moldy 19th century German opera about a Faustian pact with the Devil and turn it over to a composer of hobo rock, a legendary writer from the Beat Generation, and a director who specializes in performance pieces for the art crowd. But don't go away. A pop opera of very odd sorts called The Black Rider is a triumph for its three collaborators, Tom Waits, William S. Burroughs and Robert Wilson.

The ingredients of this marvelously unclassifiable entertainment, which is having a limited run ending this week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, are a...

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